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WeDC kickoff party gears up for DC’s SXSW takeover

On Thursday, the Washington, DC Economic Partnership formally announced its campaign to showcase the District's talents at South by Southwest this year.

Wilmington cafe La Fia has a tasty presence on Instagram. (Screenshot via Instagram)

Fueled by drinks, food and music, technologists presented their innovations to the crowd circulating amid artistic decor.
It wasn’t SXSW. But it was a first taste of the Washington, DC Economic Partnership’s campaign to vaunt its local talent — and attract new faces — at the famous festival this year.
Branded WeDC, the project will feature events day-in and day-out from March 13-17 in a house right across the street from the Austin Convention Center. (If you get lost, you can always ask for help from the organizers using the locally made app Yapper.)
“This really is about the collective community of Washington, D.C.,” said Keith Sellars, the president and CEO of the WDCEP. “It’s inclusive of the private sector as well as the public sector.”
So what do local technologists, musicians, chefs and artists all have in common? The bland reputation of Washington D.C., perhaps?
“It’s kind of a forgotten oasis that people don’t really pay attention to anymore,” said Brian Weakly, the bass guitar player for Heavy Lights. “It’s important as a community that everybody helps each other out.”
Some of the local groups participating in WeDC were present at the Thursday night kickoff party at Hierarchy DC — an art gallery-slash-events space that had just finished celebrating its one-year anniversary.

Matt and Peter 2

Brandon Hill and Peter Chang of the No Kings Collective, the local arts group behind Hierarchy DC, served as hosts. (Photo by Lalita Clozel)

Here’s who was there:

  • Contactually, a software company that helps businesses better manage their contacts.
  •, the real-life SimCity that puts real-estate stats on a 3D map.
  • The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, which was showing off one of its seven MakerBots (including one that was donated during Fosterly’s Collaborate conference last month).

It printed red dino pendants. (Photo by Lalita Clozel)

  • Pelonkey, a local online marketplace of entertainers that helped WDCEP find four DJs for the night.
  • Yapper — and its beer koozies.

Yapper beer coolers

O’Doul’s, tho? (Photo by Lalita Clozel)

We’re telling you: this party was all locally-sourced hipness.

Food: Toki Underground. Music: DJ Nonchalant, one of four performers booked through Pelonkey for the night. (Photo by Lalita Clozel)

Companies: Pelonkey / Contactually / Yapper / Create / Washington, DC Economic Partnership / SXSW

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